Friday, July 29, 2005

Third Places - Part 5 - Low Key, Playful, Home Away from Home

Low Key
A third place is typically not an attractive place. It's the "hole in the wall" that you have to hear about from your friends. There is usually no big sign; no advertising campaign. I think of the Blind Onion in Portland. We would have never gone there if friends hadn't told us about it. Another part of the Low Key atmosphere is that you don't have to dress up, you come as you are. The decor reflects this by being simple. All of this acts as a repellant to people who might not want a third place.

The Mood is Playful
Not that all conversations are always joking, but the overall mood is playful and lighthearted. Joke and wit and fun are the fabric from which the play is formed. "The magic of playgrounds is seductive." When we play, we cease to be ourselves, we are no longer constrained by common rules, we visit "temporary worlds within the ordinary world."

A Home Away from Home
What is home? What gives a feeling of being at home? I don't think there is a definitive answer, but Oldenburg suggests five:
  1. Roots - home is where we know we will be regularly.
  2. Possession - it is our home. I can do what I want to in my home.
  3. Regeneration - my body and spirit are refreshed at home.
  4. Freedom - I can be myself and express my feelings.
  5. Warmth - "emerges out of friendliness, support, and mutual concern . . . and enhances the sense of being alive."

Third places meet many or all of the qualities of home.

This concludes the chapter: Character of a Third Place. You now know what a third place is - so do you want one? Do you have one? What would you be willing to give up to have a third place?


tabitha jane said...

mmmm . . . the blind onion . . . some of the best pizza i've eaten in this city!

tabitha jane said...

and yes, i want a third place . . . not just the coffee shop around the corner with that name. that place is NOT like home to me . . . it's too frilly.

Mrs. Andrea Wood said...

I would love to have a third place but we live so far away from our friends (even just here in the Memphis area) that it is hard to find a place where we would just run into people we like.

The Blind Onion is really good! You could have gotten free beer yesterday.

James T Wood said...

Ok, so I'm sitting here waiting for my biscuits to bake and watching TV and they have this documentary on about . For those of you who don't know much about video games, Everquest is a videogame that is completely online where all of the other people in the game are real people somewhere else. People get addicted to this game. They just said that their average user plays 20 hours a week.

Since I have all this third place stuff rolling around in my head I thought about why games like Everquest are so popular. The US is a country that tries prizes privacy, but people aren't really satisfied. When they find a community it's a powerful draw.

If blogging can be a type of third place (like we were suggesting before), can these online games do the same? What about people who meet and date and get married because of their interaction in a game?

Obi-Mac BakDon said...

Blogging is definitely a type of Third Space, and perhaps easier for some who are more introverted. Many bloggers I know confess that they are much more unrepressed in blogging than in real life. Some of that has to do with degrees of anonymity...Its a Third Space that has Safe Space.

And some community does develop over time. I IM a few folks everyday and we chat and talk about life. I have my daily reads, like your site, Tabitha's, Martha's and about ten others.

The main thing is it is not passive, like televsion or movies (or even some Church services) and dialogue does happen, though I'd like to see more.

rebecca marie said...

i have a third place, and it's shanna's house. when she's there, or when she's not, i can be myself there, almost more so than at home.